Archive for the ‘Obama’ Category

ZILLAMOD -This is the god’s to honest truth. At the end of the day – it’s not a partisan matter. It’s a family matter. You use whatever you have to protect your family from harm. I am the same. This is my story as well.

This is a repost by Linda Vega.

Being an American citizen is one of the most powerful manifestations of our constitutional tradition as a nation and as a government. These constitutional rights and obligations reserved strictly for citizens have made man want to die to protect our nation, because they know that as citizens they have unalienable rights. However, the Department of Homeland Security under the Obama Administration is now stripping American citizens of their citizenship. More importantly, these attacks on a population where American citizens are being denied their constitutional rights are mainly aimed at a group: elder Latino Texans who were too poor to go to a county hospital and opted, instead, to use a midwife because there was no hospital in the poor rural areas of Texas. As a result, the Obama Administration is now incarcerating and stripping some seniors of their citizenship because they are unable to “properly” prove their birth occurred on U.S. soil.

According to immigration attorney Jaime Diez, along the Rio Grande River in Texas, there are cases where Elderly Latinos have to relinquish their U.S. Citizenship because they cannot provide enough evidence to substantiate their birth on U.S. soil by either a hospital or a credible midwife.

Prior to 2009, a few cases of maybe 20-30 would arise where elderly Latinos had to produce evidence of their U.S. Citizenship. Usually a baptismal record or a birth certificate would suffice to prove their U.S. citizenship birth. However, under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, (“WHTI”), which came into full force and effect on June 1, 2009, changes implemented under this new law, have caused overzealous U.S. agents and officers to litigate case after case that seeks to strip U.S. Citizenship from Latinos that now number over 1000.

With only limited exceptions, WHTI makes it illegal for U.S. citizens to “depart from or enter the United States” without a valid U.S. passport. 8 U.S.C. §1185(b); 22 C.F.R. §53.1(a). While this may be a necessary application of law, for a group of people who did not have the conveniences of modern day hospitals or record keeping when they were born, it has become a nightmare and a loss of identity.

Long before there was a dispute regarding the demarcated boundary that separates the U.S. and Mexico, descendants of Mexicans lived along the border on the U.S. side for years without fear of having to leave their country of choice. When Texas became the 28th state under the Presidency of Polk in 1845, those who lived along the border were annexed into the U.S.

Additionally, when the two countries were unwilling to reach a compromise as to where the boundary would be set, the Mexican-American war broke out on April 25, 1846. The result of that war fixed the southern boundary between the two countries at the Rio Grande River. For generations, the people living along the Rio Grande River into Mexico where their relatives were left in their undisturbed Mexican residency and those in the U.S. were granted U.S. Citizenship. It was a matter of convenience and understanding that those U.S. Citizens who were instantly acquiesced into the U.S. territory had travel privileges back and forth between the two countries. In the years that followed, children were born through midwives and clinics who would record the births as credible state records. In 1925, more than 50 percent of babies born in Texas were delivered by midwives. However, by 2004, the number had dropped to 6.6%. Much of the change was brought about because as rural areas integrated more clinics into the area, many along the border were receiving more prenatal care and healthcare during births.

The earliest known hospital in the valley was in Harlingen, Valley Baptist medical Center, founded in 1925. Surrounded by rural areas and colonias, the hospital is at least a 25 mile distance to these areas. At present, it is not uncommon for women to give birth to children in clinics or hospitals as these facilities are not as scarce as previous years prior to 1950. The births were not the problem, it was an industry norm for registering births that had unintended consequences on what the government is now terming, “delayed birth certificate” fraud.

According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), many of these births recorded by midwives are either fraudulent or not legal as they were not recorded according to standards. Those affected by this new application of law, now find themselves having to defend their birth certificate and passports granted to them by the U.S. State Department.

Additionally, those affected are between the ages of 60 and older born in the 1940-50s. This is the age group that is most affected as they were more likely to be born by the assistance of a midwife and at home.

While Texas is approximately 25 million in total, it is populated by a large Latino community in the rural areas, and in South Texas where about 90% of the total population is Latino.

Texas and South Texas Population by Ethnicity, 2007

When broken down into the counties most affected by the passport requirement see the following:

Consequently, immigration attorneys in the Rio Grande Valley have noticed that these cases requiring elderly Latinos to prove their citizenship has spiked within the last two years. Attorney Jaime Diez argues that over 1000 cases have been reported but many more are not for the sake of keeping the peace. However, these are only the cases of those with financial resources to fight DHS, or USCIS in court; but many more surrender their citizenship fearing a long battle in a court that is estimated to cost between $15,000 to $20,000. Many of the elderly, living on a fixed income cannot imagine this long battle or the expense, and instead relinquish their U.S. Citizenship and leave for Mexico, a land not their home.

Immigration Attorneys, like Jaime Diez, in the Rio Grande Valley accept the cases on a pro bono capacity, but have been overwhelmed recently with unnecessary discovery requests by the government and oftentimes face over 5 U.S. attorneys for a simple case of birth certificate verification. In one such case, Jaime Diez in Brownsville. States that five U.S. Attorneys were flown in from Washington D.C. to appear in Federal District Court to ask women questions regarding her childhood in the valley. The U.S. Attorneys asked to be taken to the many places the woman played as a child and other places where she and her brother remembered family gatherings. This was not only inefficient use of government money and resources, it provided little if any comfort thinking that securing the border means stripping Latinos of their U.S. Citizenship rather than apprehending those who are “terrorists” in all aspects at the border crossing.

In 2008, Obama promised Latinos change. Unfortunately, one of these promised changes includes having to lose your birthright identity because you were born at a time when a system was inefficient and antiquated. According to the present Obama policies, if you were born in 1950 and beyond, you are expendable in the U.S. Your absence, along the Rio Grande Valley where you have lived most of your life, will be overlooked. According to this Administration, Latinos have an apathy and will not participate in elections, and so invalid deportations and stripping on U.S. Citizenship will go unnoticed because no one will dare to speak up to this injustice. It is a quiet secret that many will chose to ignore. But Latinos are strong in family ideals and are compassionate protectors for the less fortunate. And now that many do know about what is happening to the elderly along the border, I hope that this Administration is placed on alert to immediately cease and desist this action. It is a shameful way to protect the border, and frankly this behavior is anything but American or decent, it is Mr. President, monstrous.

Succession of national ID legislation establishes legacy of non-profit opposition


The placard to move national ID cards forward in the Comprehensive Immigration Reform legislation becomes one more card to add to the number of embattled national identity programs in recent history. Successes with regulated worker cards, like the TWIC card, may have revealed a port of acceptability for those propelling a national ID card agenda. Legislators talked into surrendering privacy for security in the past by signing onto the Patriot Act and the Real ID Act (2005) seem content to move another form of national identity forward. The mandate would require all citizens to provide their biometrics [fingerprints, iris scans, DNA] on an ID card to work in America. This national ID initiative is the latest on the stack of many attempts to legislate the market for identity in America.

Advocates working against national identity found, over time, their work has become permanent due to the replicated, even redundant, efforts to precipitate national ID card programs. Privacy and technology counsels for the ACLU, Downsize D.C., EPIC, EFF and others have been busy in a narrow, yet, secure job market to stop new national identity initiatives. The 5-11 Campaign, a group committed to ending the proliferation of national identity, announced plans to move a once temporary campaign to a permanent non-profit venture on their second anniversary, May 11th; the date corresponding with the passage of the Real ID Act.

“It’s one constituency battling another for representation in Congress. It seems that 25 states who have opposed national identity for various reasons fall into an underrepresented category. I’m surrounded by the strongest advocates [against national ID] in the industry. Nevertheless, those who don’t want a national ID card still need more advocacy and more support for their identity rights,” says Sheila Dean, who recently retired the 5-11 Campaign for developing a non-profit, Americans for Identity Preservation.

Over 2 years ago, the release of national ID card regulations in drivers licenses challenged advocates in new and unusual ways. Regulations had a tangible reach into State’s coffers as an unfunded mandate due to national law, the Real ID Act. The law became controversial through its association with the border fence, immigration, surveillance and tracking technologies, and its ability to deny citizens the ability to bank, to travel or enter federal buildings based on identity prerequisites. While the Real ID Act is now considered “dead” at the federal level, all 50 states are still being held to benchmark compliance deadlines. Many of these States will receive grant monies towards standardizing drivers licenses after appropriations were passed for Homeland Security operations.

This may be why Southern lawmakers like Brett Geymann (D-LA) stated it is “only a matter of time” before America inherits a national ID. States like Nevada, who passed a resolution demanding a repeal of the Real ID Act, became an example of States where hard lines blurred as compliance costs became drastically reduced and some regulations appeared reachable, even reasonable due to economic incentives. They tried out the national ID program for 120 days and were met with overwhelming public disapproval. One consistency among states adopting the process: long lines of cranky motor vehicle license consumers. This was enough to propell Utah in the opposite direction of the program. Along with the lines, Florida, whose demand for identity articles to substantiate identity was already exhaustive, created unprecedented demands for identity articles. Florida editorial pages document drivers run ragged in search of obscure and sometimes non-existent documents in order to prove identity.

National identity seemed to be in the rear view after half of the nation came to an indirect consensus by rejecting the majority of costs and mandatory regulations over privacy concerns. An attempt to mitigate new legislation knocking off the “hard edges” came up for evaluation of the PASS ID Act last Summer. Shortly afterward, Representative Cohen introduced a bill to repeal Real ID and replace it with a negotiated rulemaking process. Others sought sponsorship of a comprehensive repeal of the Real ID Act leaving no bedrock to continue national ID systems.

Veiled threats to move forward PASS ID, an attempt to give Real ID a second life, lead to a draw on some efforts to repeal the Real ID Act in its entirety. The bullying persisted into 2010. Advocates continuing to help introduce comprehensive repeal legislation suffered from other political setbacks as some legislative offices wait until political climates become ideal. A burgeoning threat was added to discussions of another national biometric ID card seated by true believer Senator Chuck Schumer. This time as a prerequisite to work in place of current social security cards in Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

Arizona’s passage of SB 1070 forced immigration from the back burner to the forefront. The Obama Administration will consider national identity amid the most complicated issues of our time. Those fighting racial profiling, advocating privacy rights and individual liberty in an age of digital surveillance are comparing notes on the future of identity in context of immigration. United States citizens are confronting the forum where the future of human rights and State recognized identity will be paired or decoupled.

One thing remains sure, the arguments for and against national identity will continue to rage on and have for years.

As White House pushes expansion, critics cite errors, drop-off in care

c/o Washington Post

By Alexi Mostrous

In a health-care debate characterized by partisan bickering, most lawmakers agree on one thing: American medicine needs to go digital.

When President Obama designated $19.5 billion to expand the use of electronic medical records, former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) said it was one of only “two good things” in February’s stimulus package.

But such bipartisan enthusiasm has obscured questions about the effectiveness of health information technology products, critics say. Interviews with more than two dozen doctors, academics, patients and computer programmers suggest that computer systems can increase errors, add hours to doctors’ workloads and compromise patient care.

“Health IT can be beneficial, but many current systems are clunky, counterintuitive and in some cases dangerous,” said Ross Koppel, a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine who published a key study on electronic medical records in 2005.

Under the stimulus program, hospitals and physicians can claim millions of dollars for IT purchases, and will be penalized if they do not go digital by 2015. Obama has said the changes will save billions and will minimize medication errors.

But health IT’s effectiveness is unclear. Researchers at the University of Minnesota found in March that electronic records prevented only two infections a year. A 2005 report in the journal Pediatrics found that deaths at the children’s hospital at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center more than doubled in the five months after a computerized order-entry system went online. UPMC said the study had not found that technology caused the rise in mortality and maintained that medication errors were down 60 percent since computers were introduced in 2002.

Others studies have concluded that health IT saves time and reduces errors. It has been used successfully in organizations such as the Department of Veterans Affairs and Kaiser Permanente.

Documenting the flaws

However, the Senate Finance Committee has amassed a thick file of testimony alleging serious computer flaws from doctors, patients and engineers unhappy with current systems.

On Oct. 16, the panel wrote to 10 major sellers of electronic record systems, demanding to know, for example, what steps they had taken to safeguard patients. “Every accountability measure ought to be used to track the stimulus money invested in health information technology,” said Sen. Charles E. Grassley (Iowa), the panel’s ranking Republican.

Anonymous reports sent to the Joint Commission, the body charged with certifying 17,000 health-care organizations; Grassley’s staff; and the Food and Drug Administration disclose problems, including:

— Faulty software that miscalculated intracranial pressures and mixed up kilograms and pounds.

— A computer system that systematically gave adult doses of medications to children.

— An IT program designed to warn physicians about wrong dosages that was disconnected when the vendor updated the system, leading to incorrect dosing.

— A software bug that misdiagnosed five people with herpes.

David Blumenthal, the head of health technology at the Department of Health and Human Services, acknowledged that the systems had flaws. “But the critical question is whether, on balance, care is better than before,” he said. “I think the answer is yes.”

Over the next two months, Blumenthal will finalize the definition of “meaningful use,” the standard that hospitals and physicians will have to reach before qualifying for health IT stimulus funds. He would not say whether applicants would have to submit adverse-event reports, a safety net that many doctors and academics have called for but that vendors have resisted.

“If you look at other high-risk industries, like drug regulation or aviation, there’s a requirement to report problems,” said David C. Classen, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Utah who recently completed a study on health IT installations.

Today, barely 8 percent of hospitals have even a basic electronic medical system. Only 17 percent of physicians use electronic records, and many of those are uninstalling them, including 20 percent of physician groups in Arizona, according to a June survey by HealthLeaders-InterStudy.

Outside the United States, countries further along the digital curve have experienced major problems with American-made health IT systems.

In Britain, a $20 billion program to digitalize medicine across the National Health Service is five years behind schedule and heavily over budget. A British parliamentary committee in January criticized the vendor, Cerner, as “not providing value for money.”

Sarah Bond, a Cerner spokeswoman, said patient safety had improved and errors had dropped at U.S. hospitals that used Cerner products.

Cerner’s stock price has risen 122 percent since February. Shares in Allscripts, another major health IT player whose chief executive, Glen E. Tullman, served on Obama’s campaign finance committee, rose by 126 percent over the same period.

But rising share prices have not always translated into better care.

“It’s been a complete nightmare,” said Steve Chabala, an emergency room physician at St. Mary Mercy Hospital in Livonia, Mich., which switched to electronic records three years ago. “I can’t see my patients because I’m at a screen entering data.”

Last year, his department found that physicians spent nearly five of every 10 hours on a computer, he said. “I sit down and log on to a computer 60 times every shift. Physician productivity and satisfaction have fallen off a cliff.”

Other doctors spoke of cluttered screens, unresponsive vendors and illogical displays. “It’s a huge safety issue,” said Christine Sinsky, an internist in Dubuque, Iowa, whose practice implemented electronic records six years ago. “I can’t tell from the medical display whether a patient is receiving 4mg or 8mg of a certain drug. It took us two years to get a back-button on our [Electronic Health Record] browser.”

She emphasized that electronic records have improved her practice. “We wouldn’t want to go back,” she said. “But EHRs are still in need of significant improvement.”

More than one in five hospital medication errors reported last year — 27,969 out of 133,662 — were caused at least partly by computers, according to data submitted by 379 hospitals to Quantros Inc., a health-care information company. Paper-based errors caused 10,954 errors, the data showed.

Tracking the mishaps

Legal experts say it is impossible to know how often health IT mishaps occur. Electronic medical records are not classified as medical devices, so hospitals are not required to report problems. Many health IT contracts do not allow hospitals to discuss computer flaws, say Koppel and Sharona Hoffman, a professor of law and bioethics at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

“Doctors who report problems can lose their jobs,” Hoffman said. “Hospitals don’t have any incentive to do so and may be in breach of contract if they do.”

For one senior internist at a major hospital, who requested anonymity because he said he would lose his job if he went public, a 2006 installation provoked mayhem. “The system crashed soon after it went online,” he said. “I walked in to find no records on any patients. It was like being on the moon without oxygen.”

While orange-shirted vendor employees “ran around with no idea how to work their own equipment,” the internist said, doctors struggled to keep chronically ill patients alive. “I didn’t go through all my training to have my ability to take care of patients destroyed by devices that are an impediment to medical care.”

BTC Editorial – Obama disappoints. He disappoints because he’s been assimilated into the machine of Bush’s predecessors. He disappoints because he behaves as Bush did. Make no mistake – there is simply no possible way for a President to pristinely carry the adulation of the American public at all times. Which means that leaders have to have a fallback plan after the Honeymoon is over. However, so many elected him on the auspices that we wouldn’t get the Bush treatment.
Obama still has a chance to come correct. He can change direction any time he chooses. The issue for actors on the world stage is always MOTIVATION. Where does the context for these decisions come from?
This spring, I think Cheney has made himself a little too important. He wasn’t getting the cooperation of his former colleague, Obama. Obama himself, his staff and those in current governance are not immune to self-preservation. Cheney as a retiree couldn’t settle for skeet shooting, he decided to go duck hunting instead. If he couldn’t kill a duck – he could make one lame. He set his sights this spring on Obama and here we are.
For salt, I always blame the CIA. They suck. They don’t respect anyones privacy or humanity. They want too much information. They get what they want because they are heavily rewarded to lie, cheat and steal. What kind of people are stocked up in an agency dispatched to upset small 3rd world governments and assassinate democratically elected leaders?
I am someone who still believes in free speech and the cemented ideal center of the U.S. Constitution. I can point out those in Congress and the Senate who actually value the document as is and those who legally observe it when it is expedient for business. Sometimes it really depends on the issue.
Obama always had a plan for the internet. It’s really no big surprise with Emmanuel as a sidekick, Jane Harman in an Intelligence Director position and Cheney skulking around as an unwanted consultant that the internet is now a big problem for the incumbent government. I would be insecure too if I farmed out 20 million Americans livelihood overseas, sold them into debt slavery to China over a war most supporters were duped into after 9-11. I’m sure all the complaining is really starting to get to them.
I don’t think things are going Obama’s way right now; so he is taking it out on the public by trying to castrate our technology and communications. I bet he feels stuck. He couldn’t keep Monsanto out of Michelle’s garden, much less our food supply leadership. You see, he’s been trying to get some kind of health care to sick people. Instead of the lobby sponsors bending a bit and working with some of the Republican interests on how things play out or parsing up the bill and working constructively about specific concerns of Red state Americans; it’s been fight or flight, my way or the highway.
Should we allow our nation to be run by bunch of spoiled shortsighted bureaucrats? Is tolerating this cafeteria food fight the best Obama can do?
It’s really hard when people call your good thing, bad.
At the end of the day, Obama is one guy. The more isolated our President gets, the more people like Cheney and advisors like Rahm Emmanuel aim to suck the marrow out of him.
In the meantime, the town halls have become stages for Americans who never get a chance to say much of anything on their own behalf. It’s a new thing for shortsighted Congressional leaders to deal with auditoriums filled with Americans who are both sick and underemployed because of their stupidity. They never thought they would ever see those people in those circumstances. Most of them were working 2-3 jobs to make ends meet. They’ve got plenty of spare time now to fix their aberrant government.
America is just filled with bunches of crankypants and fusspots.
Republican or Democrat? Vote anyone but incumbent or you’ll get the same. Bush’s people who weren’t cycled out in the inauguration tides are hanging around like corpses fouling the enduring tide. There’s your problem.
Watch out for the wave of workhorse independents who don’t have law degrees who will be running for office in an election near you.

BTC – The POTUS does not have privacy. The Washington Post has made it a point to expose Obama’s every move through a widespread national database virulently available to …anyone.

How’s that for pressure? My thought here is that maybe the Post’s database will go away if the federal Government can find a way to keep that from happening to us. I have a suggestion: REPEAL THE REAL ID ACT.

As I have said in the past, the American people do not share the benefits, the immunity or the power of the United States Presidency or of elected officials. We need the dignity of our privacy.

Is having stalkers cool?
It’s disturbing and creepy. If someone we knew were singling us out this way, we would go get a court order to restrain them for such behavior. Why the hell should we tolerate it from our government, whatever their excuse is?